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Posts for: February, 2011

By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
February 27, 2011
Category: Oral Health

If you suffer from snoring or think you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), did you know that your dentist could play an important role in treating your condition? For most people this is surprising; however, we can provide both education and some treatment options. And as needed, we will work with your other healthcare professionals to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can improve both your sleep and your health.

Oral Appliance Therapy: These devices may look like orthodontic retainers or sports mouthguards, but they are designed to maintain an open, unobstructed, upper airway (tissues at the back of your throat) during sleep. There are many different oral appliances available but less than 20 have been approved through the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for treating sleep apnea. Depending on your specific condition, we may use it alone or in combination with other means of treating your OSA. Here’s how they work. They reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula (the tissue in the back of the throat that dangles like a punching bag); stabilize the lower jaw and tongue; and increase the muscle tone of the tongue — unblocking the airway.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP bedside machines generate pressurized air delivered through a tube connected to a mask covering the nose and sometimes mouth. Pressurized air opens the airway (windpipe) in the same manner as blowing into a balloon; when air is blown in, the balloon opens and gets wider. This treatment option is generally not used for snoring, but rather for the more serious condition, OSA.

Surgery: Specially trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons may include more complex jaw advancement surgeries. Additionally, an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist (otolaryngologist) may consider surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat. It also may be necessary to remove the tonsils and adenoids (especially in children), the uvula, or even parts of the soft palate.

The first step towards getting a great night's sleep if you are a snorer that has never been diagnosed or treated for your condition is to obtain a thorough examination by a physician specifically trained in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. And depending on the seriousness of your condition, he or she may strongly encourage you to participate in a sleep study. The results from this “study” can provide your dentist and other healthcare professionals with precise data about your snoring, breathing and sleeping habits. This information is key to treating OSA, if you are in fact diagnosed with this condition. Learn more when you read, “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.” Or if you are ready for a thorough examination and to discuss your snoring, contact us today to schedule an appointment.


By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
February 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Everyone agrees that education is an important part of personal growth. However, one area of study that often slips through the cracks centers on oral healthcare basics. And whether or not we all do it as often as we should, most people know they should brush and floss their teeth daily. But other than that, do you feel you are knowledgeable and thus have a healthy dental IQ?

We have developed a quick and easy oral health IQ test to help you self-assess your expertise. The answers are listed at the bottom of this article.

The Quiz

  1. What has been the largest, single factor influencing the decline in tooth decay over the past 40 years in America?
    1. Fluoridated water
    2. Fluoridated toothpaste
    3. Flossing
    4. Sealants
  2. Your dentists can help treat which of the following problem(s)?
    1. Halitosis (bad breath)
    2. Snoring and sleep apnea
    3. Headaches, Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
    4. All of the above
  3. The most important aspect of brushing your teeth is...?
    1. The brand of toothpaste you use
    2. Your brushing technique and frequency
    3. The brand of your toothbrush
    4. Using an electric toothbrush
  4. At a minimum, how often should you have a thorough dental evaluation?
    1. Every six months
    2. Once a year
    3. Every five years
    4. Only if you are experiencing pain
  5. At a minimum, how often should you have your teeth professionally cleaned?
    1. Every six months
    2. Once a year
    3. Every five years
    4. It depends on your age and oral health

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Oral Hygiene Behavior.”

The Answers

1) a = fluoridated water, 2) d = all of the above, 3) b = your brushing technique and frequency, 4) b = once a year, 5) d = It depends on your age and oral health


By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
February 16, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

If you are pleased with your smile except for that one front tooth that appears darker, then Dr. Chad Slocum and Dr. Sara Lundgaard have good news for you at Penny Creek Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Often a tooth appears darker as a result of trauma that may have occurred years ago. Your tooth may need root canal treatment or may have already had root canal treatment in the past. Regardless, you can whiten this tooth via a process called internal bleaching. And as the name suggests, the tooth can be bleached from the inside out. Here's a brief summary of how this entire process works:

  1. Performing an x-ray exam: The first step is to take a radiograph (x-ray) to make sure that your root canal filling is intact adequately sealing the root canal and the surrounding bone is healthy.
  2. Making an access hole: To apply the bleaching agent, a small hole will need to be made in the back of your tooth to apply the bleach. However, before doing that, the area must be thoroughly cleaned and irrigated.
  3. Sealing above the root canal filling: This step is critical to prevent the bleach from leaking into the root canal space.
  4. Applying the bleach: To obtain the whitening needed, it typically requires between one and four office visits for additional bleaching.
  5. Applying a permanent restoration: Once your tooth has lightened to the desired color, a permanent filling will be placed over the small hole to seal your tooth's dentin. This is then covered with tooth-colored composite resin (filling material) so that the access hole is undetectable to the naked eye.

To learn more about this procedure and see amazing before and after images, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.” Or, you can contact us, Dr. Chad Slocum and Dr. Sara Lundgaard to discuss your questions or contact us at Penny Creek Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment.


By Penny Creek Family & Implant Dentistry
February 14, 2011
Category: Oral Health

For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, which thereby helps to prevent decay of tooth structures.

Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety-related organization in the world. Communities make it a common practice to "fluoridate" their drinking supplies in order for the general population to benefit from this inexpensive and effective preventative treatment. According to the American Dental Association, more than 144 million U.S. residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, most from public water supplies with sodium fluoride added artificially.

Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure

Can the consistent use of bottled water result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Can home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes to both. Read how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride, in this article from the American Dental Association.

ADA statement on FDA toothpaste warning labels

The American Dental Association`s Council on Scientific Affairs believes that one part of the warning now required on fluoride toothpastes by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes. The label language, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately," is now required on all fluoride toothpastes. But the ADA, in a letter sent to the FDA last year, pointed out that a child could not absorb enough fluoride from toothpaste to cause a serious problem and that the excellent safety record on fluoride toothpaste argues against any unnecessary regulation.

Enamel fluorosis

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she receives too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.

CDC web site provides information on community water fluoridation

People seeking information on whether their water system is fluoridated, can now find out by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new feature, "My Water`s Fluoride," allows consumers in participating states to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates. States that are currently participating include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

For more information about fluoride in our drinking water in Mill Creek Washington, please contact Dr. Chad G. Slocum DDS or Sara M. Lundgaard DDS at Penny Creek Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.